Women’s choice drives more sustainable global birth rate

Futurity reports:

If the average fertility rate in 1970 still held true, the global population would be 14 billion, or twice what it is today. So what’s behind the change? Choices by women, according to a new report on global fertility rates.

Despite strong opposition from governments and established religions, the birth rate began to fall in English-speaking countries and Nordic countries from around 1870. Over the following 50 years, other European countries followed.

Previous research shows that the Australian decline was associated with the agency of women increasing through the universal education of girls. This meant that women, rather than men, were putting themselves in charge of fertility decision-making, McDonald says.

The importance of the link between women’s education and the decline in birth rate is an obvious one . . .



After a deadly month for domestic violence, the message doesn’t appear to be getting through

Silke Meyer for The Conversation writes:

On average, at least one woman is killed every week at the hands of a current or former partner in Australia. Last month, the numbers were even more alarming. Nine women were killed in October – seven allegedly in the context of a current or former intimate relationship, the other two also suspected to have died at the hands of male perpetrators.

While these deaths are a disturbing reflection of the pervasive nature of violence against women in Australia, they have largely gone unnoticed. Aside from a small number of female journalists who called on Australia’s leaders to address the crisis, the media more broadly, as well as governments and the wider public, have mostly remained silent.

These recent incidents raise questions around the effectiveness of awareness and educational campaigns developed under Australia’s National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children, released in 2011 to improve the country’s response to domestic violence.


Google employees all over the world left their desk and walked out in protest over sexual misconduct

Days after a New York Times investigation revealed Google gave Android creator Andy Rubin a $90 million exit package despite multiple relationships with other Google staffers and accusations of sexual misconduct, some 200 employees at the search giant are planning a walkout.

Thousands of workers are expected to take part in the protest, which calls for people in Google’s offices to walk away from their desk at 11 a.m. in their respective time zone. Protesters are using the hashtag #GoogleWalkout. Employees in New York, London, Tokyo, and Berlin are among those to have already taken part.


Toilet design puts woman at risk of harassment and poor health, charities warn

Sarah Newey for the Telegraph writes:

Dark and insecure toilets disproportionately affect women and girls, putting them at greater risk of harassment and damage to their health, three charities have warned.

Across the world, one in three women do not have access to a toilet at home, instead relying on public or community toilets.

But these facilities often lack locks, robust doors or facilities to dispose of sanitary products, which discourages women from using them.

Traveling to the toilets can also put women and girls at risk, especially at night. In 2014, police in Bihar in India said that some 400 women would have “escaped” rape if they had access to toilets in their own home.

“If facilities are not in a safe geographical location, secure and bright, then the surrounding area can attract people who are interested in harassing women and girls,” said Priya Nath, equality, inclusion and rights advisor at WaterAid.

“It’s not only the threat, perception of risk is just as important. If women perceive that it is not safe to go to the toilet then they will not use it. But we know that not eating or drinking to hold on, or not changing sanitation products, has huge health problems,” she added.


‘There are no rules’: the unforeseen consequences of sex robots

Andrew Taylor at Sydney Morning Herald writes:

They are already lending a hand with everyday chores. They are expected to drive many people out of their jobs. But robots may soon be sharing our beds as sex partners with anatomically correct, customised body parts and personalities.

However, Dr Xanthe Mallett, a forensic anthropologist and criminologist, says sex robots could have unforeseen consequences on human relationships in ways similar to other technology such as smartphones. “Imagine a man who has a sex robot,” she says.

“He can do anything he wants with it. There are no limits, there are no rules. There’s nothing that is out of bounds.

“These latest versions have fully integrated AI capabilities, and can be completely customised by the user,” he says. “They look, feel, touch and respond like a real human would, possessing memory capabilities, various personality settings and response modes.”

One of Mallett’s concerns involves how human interactions may be reshaped by sex robots, especially if their “various personality settings” include subservience or tolerating abusive and violent behaviour like the androids in the television series Westworld.

The Campaign against Sex Robots raises a number of concerns about sex robots, including sexually objectifying women and children and reducing human empathy.

Mallett says she worries paedobots may lead some people to offend against a child. “I’ve seen too many cases where people have gone from looking at images online to then progressing to grooming children to then offending against children,” she says. “You see an evolution in behaviour as people don’t get the same level of satisfaction looking at pictures so they have to evolve and seek the next thrill.”


Rape and sexual abuse of women in North Korea ‘open, unaddressed and widely tolerated’

ABC News reports:

A Human Rights Watch report based on interviews with 106 North Koreans who have left the country found the country’s extremely patriarchal society means many women feel powerless to demand accountability over sexual violence, many are also ashamed of being abused, and some choose to keep silent because of flimsy law enforcement and support systems.

The report details sexual abuse by men in official positions of power, such as prison guards, police officers, prosecutors, soldiers and market supervisors.

“Interviewees told us that when a guard or police officer ‘picks’ a woman, she has no choice but to comply with any demands he makes, whether for sex, money, or other favours,” the report said.

“Women in custody have little choice should they attempt to refuse or complain afterward, and risk sexual violence, longer periods in detention, beatings, forced labour, or increased scrutiny while conducting market activities.”

A pervasive social stigma keeps victims silent, the report said, adding that all of the interviewees described “widespread impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence and lack of justice for survivors.”


O’Connor and White in Damage Control over Backlash on Transgender Reforms

Women Speak Tasmania in Tasmanian Times write:

It’s now very clear the Tasmanian people are unhappy about the proposal to remove sex markers from birth certificates. Attorney-General, Elise Archer’s, call for an independent inquiry into the changes to be put forward by Labor and the Greens is both sensible and necessary.

We are concerned the rights of women and girls to safe female-only spaces will be collateral damage in the rush to allow male transgender persons to become legally female simply by signing a declaration that they identify as female.

This is a legitimate consideration, and must be fully addressed.

It seems Ms O’Connor’s claim that a call for consultation is “whipping up fear, loathing and misunderstanding at the expense of a minority in our community” is nothing more than overwrought scare-mongering, something she readily denounces in those who oppose her views.

Ms O’Connor also seeks to align transgender law reform with gay rights, but Tasmanians can see through this obvious political posturing.


Australians the world’s wealthiest! And yet female homelessness on rise

Sandra Buckley for Women’s Agenda reports:

Currently, in Australia men retire with 47% more super than Australian women, meaning Australian women retire with almost 50% less than Australian men. So much less super, that the fastest growing cohort of Australians sliding into homelessness are Australian women who are aged over 50 and single.

It does not add up for us that women who raised you or who looked after a disabled child, sick partner or relative, in other words who spend many hours of her life performing essential caring roles, retires in poverty as a result of caring.

We are one of the few OECD countries that does not value caring and does not pay super to carers. Nor do we pay super on parental leave. We don’t pay super to those who earn less than $450 per month from one employer despite usually having several part-time jobs in order to have flexibility when looking after the kids.

One in two women in Australia earns less than $37,000 a year. And nothing will change for future generations unless we make substantive changes now.

That’s why we started the #Makesuperfair campaign at Women In Super.


Law is ‘inherently masculine’ but women can help change it

Anne-Marie Rice in Lawyers Weekly writes:

I am tired because I am 44 years old, self-employed and the mother of two primary school aged children. Tired goes with the territory.

I am tired because I am a lawyer and the law is a jealous mistress.

But, most of all, I am tired from 20 years of doing a job through a prism that is inconsistent with who I am. A lens that I find fundamentally one dimensional and inherently aggressive. It is inherently masculine. The way the law is, largely, practised invites lawyers to solve problems by first making them bigger and by then aggressively holding a position until a decision is imposed or a compromised based on brinkmanship is reached.

I am exhausted from walking that walk. It affects who I am. It dims my light. And, looking around this room, I know I am not the only one who feels it.

But it also affects those who are NOT in this room tonight. The women who have left the profession. Not having retired after a full and fulfilling career but who have opted out. Early.

The responsibility for the change to make professional life sustainable for women, is mine. It’s ours. The responsibility to stop pretending that a flourishing legal career and committed parenting (or other) role is at all easy, realistic, healthy or sustainable, is mine. It’s ours.

We all know that Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but that she did it backwards and in high heels. But puzzle me this: what might have happened if Ginger Rogers had been invited to turn around?


Australian teens as young as 14 vomiting, taking laxatives to stay thin

SBS News reports:

Australian teenagers as young as 14 are taking extreme measures including vomiting or taking laxatives to control their weight.

Child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Sloane Madden said the demand for youth psychiatric services was increasing at an alarming rate.

“I am busier than I have ever been, certainly particularly young age we’re seeing people presenting with very serious eating disorders at a much younger age,” Dr Sloane said.

He blamed social media and an obsession with self-image as the cause of these worrying trends.

“There are a number of factors, certainly exposure to images of people who are thin and promotion of those images as being desirable and equated with success are everywhere you look,” Dr Sloane said.


Protect women’s rights and spaces: Submission on the Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registrati on Bill (NZ)

From Submission by Renee Gerlich:

To ensure that the BDMRRA does not breach Section 21(1a) of the Human Rights Act, section 19 of the Bill of Rights Act and CEDAW, I request that Section 28 of the BDMRRA be amended to include a necessary preamble: a definition of sex and a definition of gender with which the rest of the Act be made consistent. I suggest that these definitions are made consistent with the HRA and CEDAW: namely, that sex be defined as biological: persons can be either male or female according to standard definitions (chromosomes, gonads, genitals and secondary sex characteristics). I support the maintenance of an “indeterminate” provision for intersex persons under section 28 of the current Act.

Any definition of sex proposed to underpin the BDMRRA that challenges commonplace understandings of “sex” as biological, as well as definitions drawn on to prevent sex discrimination in the HRA and CEDAW, must not be legislated for without a full public consultation. This consultation should include every single service that will be affected by the institutionalisation of definitions of sex and gender that are not commonplace. Consultation must be carried out with rape crisis shelters, women’s refuges, sports teams, Corrections and within women’s prisons, any public facilities that include bathrooms and changing rooms, women in women’s representative groups and positions, all-girls schools, and other groups. I also propose that without the addition of a preamble clearly defining sex and gender, no amendments can be made to the BDMRRA. The BDMRRA is already at odds with Section 21(1a) of the HRA and CEDAW, and any changes made, if not underpinned by clear definitions, will remain weak and problematic at best and will become circular, illogical and increase harm to women at worst.


UK universities struggle to deal with ‘toxic’ trans rights row

Anna Fazackerley for The Guardian writes:

Transgender issues cut across many academic disciplines including law, gender studies, philosophy and history, and so the issues are natural ones for academics to discuss. Freedman is focusing on the Gender Recognition Act as part of her job as a law professor with expertise in human rights. “I am deeply concerned by how the conflation of sex and gender is leading to subjugation of women and is undermining the specific protections guaranteed to women under international and national human rights law,” she says.

As well as many abusive comments on Twitter, she has been shown a written request from an academic at another university asking for her to be blacklisted from giving any papers or attending events in their law school. Colleagues have also told her that Reading University has received written and verbal complaints about her views from its staff and students, and from people outside the university.

Kathleen Stock, professor of philosophy at Sussex University, who has been critical of trans self-identification as part of her work on feminist philosophy, has been publicly labelled “transphobic” by Sussex students’ union. The union put out a statement about her saying: “We will not tolerate hate on campus, and we will do everything in our power to protect our students.” She says the union and some students have sent emails asking her head of school and other senior managers to condemn or publicly disassociate themselves with her views, and students have protested against her on campus.

Stock says she knows academics at other universities who are “terrified of being fired” for their views on this subject. She wants UK universities to follow those in the US that have adopted the “Chicago [University] principles” on free speech. This is a commitment to allowing free debate on campus, even if other people at the university think someone’s views are “offensive, unwise or immoral”.

Stock says: “I can deal with strangers behind pseudonyms saying horrible things on Twitter, and, up to a point, with young, inexperienced students condemning me. But what I can’t understand is academics going out of their way to shame me.”


Petition Open Letter to the AAP

Please sign a petition addressed to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) asking them to reconsider their recently released policy statement on the care of transgender youth.

The AAP’s policy statement essentially rubber-stamps the gender affirmative approach to working with transgender youth. The gender affirmative approach affirms a child’s belief that he/she is transgender at any age, regardless of other possible causative/related factors (such as autism, social contagion, or same-sex attraction). As part of gender-affirmative care, youth are often prescribed puberty-blockers and synthetic hormones that have not been approved for this use by the Food and Drug Administration. Under-age youth and young adults are also undergoing major gender-confirming sex reassignment surgeries.

The petition is being circulated by the Gender Critical Support Board, an online forum of over 1,100 parents and loved ones of trans-identified youth and young adults who are seeking a thoughtful and cautious approach to the treatment of their gender dysphoric children.


These Kenyan widows are fighting against sexual ‘cleansing’

Louise Donovan and Hannah O’Neill for Pri write:

While issues like female genital mutilation (FGM) often hit headlines, widow abuse is a huge, largely overlooked, problem. According to the Loomba Foundation’s 2015 Report, there are more than 258 million widows worldwide, and nearly 10 percent of them live in sub-Saharan Africa.

Prejudice against widows plays out in different ways all over the world. In India and Nepal, for example, a woman is often accused of causing her husband’s death. She isn’t allowed to look at another person as her gaze is considered bad luck, like a literal death stare. Many widows, like Atema, are forced to have sex with a stranger, while in some Nigerian communities, the widowed wife has to drink the water her dead husband’s body was washed in, or sleep next to his grave for three days.

Ritual cleansing has been reported in 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The stigma stems, says Karen Brewer of Widows Rights International, from the notion that men are stronger than women.

“If a man dies, it can’t just be because he’s old,” she said. “The woman must have done witchcraft against him. It’s superstition but people who are educated in these communities realize things can be done differently.”


Lawyer calls out ‘flawed’ child abuse redress scheme

Emma Ryan for Lawyers Weekly writes:

According to Bennett & Philp Lawyers director Mark O’Connor, the scheme’s maximum payout falls “well short” of the recommended payments.

In addition, Mr O’Connor said some victims “will have to jump through bureaucratic hoops to be compensated”, particularly when “the redress scheme as created has a $50,000 shortfall on the recommended payouts, and is maddeningly vague on defining terms such as ‘penetration’,” he said.

In conclusion, Mr O’Connor acknowledged that while the national redress scheme for victims of child sexual abuse is one long overdue and welcome, he noted there needs to be a broader interpretation of the various categories of abuse.

“For example there’s no general interpretation of the term ‘penetration’. We would argue it should include oral sex but apparently it does not cover that so victims in that category could be denied their full entitlements,” he said.


Transgender politics focuses on who determines someone’s gender – The body of law

The Economist writes:

WHO DECIDES your gender? The rights of transgender people stem from the seemingly simple question of how to define someone’s gender in law. Yet this week, in two countries where transgender politics and rights are most rooted, the question has received radically different answers. There is nothing simple about it.


Labour members ‘punished’ over transgender Facebook debate

Lucy Bannerman for The Times writes:

Labour supporters have criticised a “sinister” decision to freeze them out of a Facebook group for sharing an article by the former head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.

In the article for The Times, Mr Phillips, a long-time Labour member, urged ministers not to give in to “trans zealots” over proposals to allow people to self-declare their legal gender.

Within 25 minutes of making the post, Ms Lush was told that she would be muted by administrators for sharing the allegedly “transphobic and offensive” material.

When another female member tried to share the article, the group moderator muted her and asked her “not to share that kind of stuff in the future”.

The member, who declined to be named for fear of harassment, criticised the hypocrisy of the administrators. The woman, a party member for 30 years, said: “The policy has never been debated amongst members, and Labour politicians are colluding with intimidation and silencing. Many women I know are leaving and have left (the party) over this issue.

“I was silenced for sharing an article explaining that the rights and protections of marginalised groups that were fought for for half a century would be destroyed if the push for self ID was successful. I had been perfectly polite and respectful, simply presenting the article for discussion, as I believe the points are valid and important. The silencing of anyone questioning these proposed reforms is not democratic.”


Women-Only Craft Beer Forum Shut Down By Men’s Rights Activist

Beth Demmon for Munchies writes:

The Women’s Beer Forum, hosted by Los Angeles-based Eagle Rock Brewery, is the latest victim in a long line of so-called “gender-based discrimination” lawsuits initiated by various men’s rights activists (MRAs), who are lashing out events and promotions designed for women.

The group’s overall goal was “to serve as an educational platform for more women interested in learning about beer, tasting through different beer styles, and being with a community of other women who enjoy good beer.” In short, it was a group created to serve as a counterbalance to a culture in which roughly 70 percent of craft beer drinkers are men.

Aggressive exclusionary tactics to keep men out were never used, Su says. In fact, men often participated and even presented at the meetups in the past. But in November 2017, a self-described MRA contacted Eagle Rock Brewery regarding the upcoming forum and was told it was for women only. That’s when the threats began.

After several months of limbo, the DFEH decided there was “reasonable cause” for a lawsuit and that the case would be pursued in the courts. Su’s only other option? Pay a settlement.

“We would have lost the company otherwise,” Su says in a phone call with MUNCHIES. “But I’m not OK settling and walking away.”

This type of targeted extortion is more common than one might think. There are men who fashion themselves into “career plaintiffs” who specifically seek out women-only events and groups in order to threaten and blackmail them for financial gain. One San Diego man has singlehandedly filed over 25 lawsuits claiming gender discrimination, and there are a number of men’s-rights-focused law firms who solely focus on these types of cases.


Malaysia: PM Mahathir Mohamad Bans Child Marriage – Eurasia Review

Child marriage, a recurring phenomenon in Malaysia that permits parents to marry off their offspring with the consent of authorities, is no longer to be allowed under any circumstances, the government has ruled.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has issued a directive to all state authorities that the legal minimum marriage age is now set at 18 for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

It comes after a national outcry following the exposure of a marriage between a 41-year-old Malaysian Muslim man and an 11-year-old Thai girl in June.

Child marriage required the approval of a Sharia court judge for Muslims or the chief minister of the state for non-Muslims. Marriage of non-Muslims below 16 years was banned but Muslims were exempt until now.

According to studies, child marriage is not a fringe issue in Malaysia. Government statistics revealed that nearly 15,000 marriages involving underage children were reported from 2007 to 2017, consisting of 10,000 cases involving Muslims and 4,999 cases involving non-Muslims, according to Hannah Yeoh, a deputy minister.


Online paedophile jailed for 14 years

ITV News reports:

A man who sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl he arranged to meet in Basingstoke has been put behind bars.

Gary Cooper, 47, from Hertford, contacted his victim five days earlier via an online chat room and groomed her by posing as a teenage girl.

A police investigation uncovered a series of offences against the 12 year old and another girl, for which Cooper pleaded guilty.

He was jailed yesterday for 14 years and four months.

Det Insp Dave Storey said: “Gary Cooper (also known as Carrie Cooper) has been convicted of some very serious sexual assaults against children. The most serious involved a sequence of events in which Cooper used an on-line social network site to sexually groom and subsequently rape a 12-year-old girl.


Hertfordshire Constabulary report as follows:

A woman has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for sexual offences against a child
Carrie Cooper, aged 53, was found guilty of nine counts of sexual assault of a child under 13 following a trial at St Albans Crown Court
The court heard how she abused the victim a number of times between 2007 and 2011


Abused clergy wife’s message to the church: I’m still struggling to survive

Anonymous for ABC News writes:

Thanks to the work of ABC journalists Julia Baird and Hayley Gleeson, a light was shone on the insidious problem of domestic violence in religious communities.

For the first time our stories as clergy wives were heard by a wide audience, and we felt hopeful that by speaking up, we could contribute to better outcomes for other women who were still suffering.

And yet so much has not changed.

We’re still struggling to survive. Many of us live in desperate poverty; housing insecurity and not knowing where our next meal will come from is our daily reality.

It can be difficult to access the specialised trauma counselling that we and our children need — few counsellors are trained to deal with domestic violence induced trauma, the cost can be prohibitive, and child minding can be almost impossible for those of us who have lost much of our support networks.

We struggle to find our way spiritually as we adjust to thinking for ourselves, after years or decades of being told what to believe and how to behave in order to please the God we had had presented to us through our husbands’ dictates.

And we still have no voice in the formal structures of the Sydney Anglican Church.

Over the past year there has been fierce pushback against the taskforce’s emphasis on the need to support victims seeking to leave abusive marriages.

In its report this week the taskforce noted it had received feedback from some who felt its domestic abuse policy had “inadvertently gone too far in undermining the intended permanence of the marriage covenant”.

The emphasis on the indissolubility of marriage in diocesan teaching has been a powerful factor in trapping women in violent marriages. Both victims and advocates have argued this must urgently be clarified, and the policy reflects as much.

But women are still reporting far too often being re-victimised by church workers and parish policies for leaving their abusive marriages.

Not long after I left my marriage, I was invited to meet with a group of other ex-clergy wives who had also recently left or were preparing to leave abusive marriages.

A woman with an influential leadership role in the diocese thanked us for coming and then said: “Now, I want us to think about how we can preserve our beautiful doctrine of submission in the face of these terrible experiences you have had”.

I listened in disbelief as she quite literally put the preservation of this doctrine, which is frequently interpreted as requiring wives to “submit” to their husbands, ahead of any acknowledgement of the horrific treatment we had endured, and were still suffering, at the hands of husbands who had used that very scripture to justify their violence.

Does the Bible really deserve more empathy than the human beings for whom it was written?


Is sport a law unto itself?

Jerome Doraisamy for Lawyers Weekly writes:

Speaking to Lawyers Weekly in the wake of her appearance at the Victoria Law Foundation’s forum on sport and the law, Monash University Associate Professor Kate Seaar said sport can shape how we understand the value of men and women and what they are capable of.

“Where women are not treated equally or afforded the same opportunities as men, and where sport is culturally valorised, women may come to be understood as inferior to men,” she argued.

“Research from Our Watch also suggests there could be important links between sport and violence against women, and that offering women equal opportunities to play sport (including being paid equally) may help erode attitudes supportive of/linked to violence against women.”


Queensland police misses defence deadline after domestic violence victim’s details leaked

Ben Smee for The Guardian:

The Queensland police service has missed the deadline to file its defence in a breach of privacy case brought by a domestic violence victim whose details were leaked by a police officer.

Julie* was forced to go into hiding after a senior constable, Neil Punchard, accessed her address from the police QPrime database and sent it to her violent former husband, who has been convicted of domestic violence and faces another charge of breaching a domestic violence order.

Punchard then sent text messages to Julie’s former husband joking about the matter.

“Just tell her you know where she lives and leave it at that. Lol. She will flip,” Punchard wrote in one message that was later sent to the Crime and Corruption Commission.

The Queensland Government Insurance Fund has instructed the government legal service, Crown Law Queensland, to fight the case on behalf of the police service.

Julie is self-represented in the Queensland civil and administrative tribunal. The police service was required by the tribunal to file “the statements of evidence on which it seeks to rely” by Monday at 4pm.

The police defence to Julie’s claim is broadly that the state should not be held responsible for the actions of rogue individuals.


myGov portal can be used by abusive partners to track down victims, Government warns

Megan Hendry for ABC News reports:

Parents fleeing domestic violence are being urged to deactivate their children’s myGov accounts, amid concerns abusive partners can use the portal to discover where spouses and children are living.

An email circulated by staff at the Queensland Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women has warned that a group of doctors had raised concerns about abusive partners being able to access the updated address details of their child through the Federal Government’s myGov portal.

“Perpetrators will seek to find and locate their partner or ex-partner because the nature of domestic violence is this intense desire to control or exert power over the other partner,” Professor Taylor said.

“Perpetrators try all sorts of means in order to try and locate [abused partners] so any system, including myGov, which may allow this to happen needs to be a concern to authorities in terms of risk and safety.”

She said the portal posed a significant risk to victims.


Most Australians would not act if they saw sexism

Wendy Tuohy of The Age writes:

Only 14 per cent of Australians are likely to do something if they identify a woman being targeted with sexism or disrespectful treatment, research has found.

Forty-seven per cent said they could recognise disrespect but would be “unlikely to do something”, and 39 per cent said they would struggle to recognise it at all.

The national agency for the prevention of violence against women, Our Watch, which did research on 2000 people around the country, will launch a campaign today aimed at prompting those who witness disrespectful treatment to act.

Ms Kinnersly said it was important not to ignore such behaviour because accepting disrespectful treatment can set a tone in which violence against women is tolerated.

“Sexist attitudes and behaviours create an environment where violence against women is more likely; in an environment in which women are disrespected, some people take that right and don’t draw the line,” she said.


Surrogacy: No Laughing Matter

Jennifer Lahl for Public Discourse writes:

On April Fools’ Day 2018, a German LGBTI website came under attack for announcing the raffle of a surrogate mother in Thailand and an egg donor for a gay couple. The ‘package’ was said to be worth over $44,000 US. Immediately this raffle draw attention on Twitter, where it was criticized for being a “tasteless,” “racist,” “sexist,” and extremely unfunny attempt at an April Fools’ joke.

What is taking place here in the US is a state-by-state effort to pass legislation enabling commercial surrogacy. Internationally, efforts to legalize commercial surrogacy are underway in places like the Hague, the United Nations, and several national governments. One thing you should know for certain is that all of these efforts are carefully orchestrated—and well-funded—by the fertility industry, their lobbyists and attorneys, and gay surrogacy agencies like the one run by Sam Everingham, “Families through Surrogacy” or the group “men having babies.”

One of the first steps in combating surrogacy, particularly in the consumer-driven developed, western world is by exposing big fertility. Surrogacy is big business, raking in billions of dollars worldwide each year.

When there is money to be made—particularly in a field that claims to be self-regulated—there are always bad actors eager to cash in. Theresa Ericson, a California-based surrogacy attorney who was convicted and sent to prison for leading a baby-selling ring, called herself the “tip of the iceberg, when it comes to people abusing the system.”

So no, there is no debate taking place on the ethics of surrogacy. What is happening is that a few of us, woefully understaffed and underfunded, are taking on an industry similar to the likes of Big Tobacco or Big Pharma, David vs. Goliath style.



Information about the Week of Action against the G20 and the IMF

This year, the Argentinian government is hosting the G20, a one year process during which more than 80 meetings of G20-working groups, ministerial meetings and summits of the focus groups are taking place in our country. The Leaders’ summit, for which the presidents from the G20 countries will travel to Buenos Aires, will take place on Friday 30th of November and Saturday 1st of December 2018 at the Centre of Conventions “Costa Salguero”. The government of Mauricio Macri is already preparing for the mega event, buying airplanes, arms and what they call “anti-riot equipment” . In fact, one third of the budget for organizing the G20 is dedicated to “safety and defense”, which roughly amounts to 50 million U$S. And while the government is spending millions on the G20, it is cutting expenses for education and health andhas entered a dangerous spiral of indebtedness by asking the IMF for a loan of 50 billion U$S in order to assure the country’s liquidities and its capacity to pay speculative hedge funds.

This is why the Confluencia Fuera G20 – IMF (the “Confluence G20 – IMF Out)” is planning a massive Week of Action, from the 25th of November to the 1st of December and is inviting everyone to participate in the global repudiation of the G20, the IMF and everything these institutions represent.


Don’t agree with trans ideology? UTAS will find a way to silence you …

Bronwyn Williams for the Tasmanian Times writes:

Universities present themselves as forums for robust debate, but when it comes to trans rights, it seems no dissent from the politically correct position will be tolerated. Those who argue against the favoured pro-trans ideology are shamelessly and vindictively silenced, with specious claims of defamation concerns, patently uninformed ‘legal advice’ and more buck passing than you’re ever likely to see, anywhere.

And, the censorship persists, based on a unilateral decision, with no consultation or information or proper advice offered to the author.

Below is the text of the offending article, as published in Togatus …

The Collective’s Facebook page posts the occasional useful feminist article, but the overall transgender/queer bias is patently obvious. Only those who agree with a ‘feminism’ that prioritises trans/queer interests are welcome.

I fully appreciate the emotional and social consequences gender identity issues must have for transgender and queer individuals, but I’m not prepared to cede my experience of femaleness to the overtly political agenda of some in those groups. I am a woman, not a cis-woman.

And, seriously, when a Collective member has a bitch about their ‘queerness’ not being taken seriously enough because they’re ‘low femme’ and they have ‘a long-term cis man partner’ we know we’re truly in the realm of privileged, white, first world problems.

Thousands of women are out there right now – being underpaid, and exploited, and trafficked into sexual slavery, and raped and beaten and killed. Most of them have XX chromosomes and bigger things to worry about than their gender identity. If feminism has to be a game of priorities, I prefer to prioritise their struggles.


‘Soft porn’ and Instagram: how plastic surgeons fuel body image anxiety

Professor Emerita Nichola Rumsey, a leading international expert on appearance psychology, delivered a scathing assessment of the cosmetic industry’s role in the unrelenting rise of poor body image.

Some were using “soft-porn images” on Instagram and other social media that “gives patients unrealistic expectations of the likely outcomes, contributes to negative body image and it should change,” said Professor Rumsey from the University of the West of England and honorary member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

Poor body image was linked to depression, anxiety, stress, eating disorders and disordered eating, drug and alcohol misuse.

A recent Melbourne study found a sharp rise in the number of girls – some as young as 11 – seeking vaginal cosmetic surgery.

The cosmetic industry was perpetuating the “beauty myths” that the more attractive a person is, the happier or successful they will be, Professor Rumsey said.

But research shows people who base their self worth on their looks are more insecure.